Overnight New York City simply sank into the ocean. It was a complete disaster with hundreds of thousands feared dead, possibly millions displaced. There were about 200 buildings that could be seen above the new waterline, at around the 40th floor.
The rescue operations were mounted by ship, helicopter and boats. A massive number of rescue personnel, charity operations and media crowded onto the new coast to take part and see what there was left. There were some people alive in the office towers and high-rise apartment buildings that needed to be evacuated but the government declared the city off-limits to anything else.
A month later the sightings began. Bright beams of light rising from the water-logged archipelago of Manhattan into the skies. Unidentified Objects lowered through these beams and it was reported that the island-buildings had been invaded by aliens. The mass media was silent on this until the military began setting up staging points off the coast of New Jersey and points in New York that were now ocean-front.
“The Military has asked sight-seers to stay away from the area coast, citing ongoing operations. They do not ant to endanger civilians...” the reports were vague. No mention of aliens. Speculation that a training exercise was a cover-up for something bigger was rife.
They were trying to recover nuclear weapons now at the bottom of the ocean.... they were trying to keep a nuclear power-plant from melting down.... some high-ranking officials were still alive at the submerged UN compound.... all sorts of rumors.
Then the sides of some of the building showed huge gaps and there were things walking around in them, there were bright orange glowing things stretching between the buildings. Impossible to hide from the public at night on a clear day.
The team of five soldiers were wearing the latest in heavy armor and carrying very powerful miniaturized rail guns. These images were seen online. The men boarded a small boat and were ferried to the sunken city. They were seen by telescope climbing into the nearest building that rose above the new waterline.
“Jordan! You take point!” The Sergeant ordered as they moved farther into the office building. It was only several stories above the sea, it would be one of the easier searches. There had been no sightings in this particular building.
“Okay, this floor is clear. Take the stairs, Nelson you hold back a few paces and cover us.” The order came as they reached the stairwell, broad enough for three people or two with armor. As they reached the next level something moved toward them.
“Incoming!” Jordan yelled and fired a three round burst from his gun, which missed the enemy and punched through the far wall and into the next building. It was loud enough for the report to be heard over two miles away on the shore line.
Jordan screamed and fell back onto the stairs, the Sergeant and Nielson had to move to the side to avoid being landed on. The entire front chest armor of Jordan had been ripped away along with most of his own chest inside.
Above them looking down with a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth was something that resembled a hairless gorilla if it were light-blue and had an elongated neck. The creature roared and both the Sergeant and Nielson fired shots at it. It reared up on its hind legs like a bear. At the bottom of the steps Nelson joined in firing away with his own gun,
“It's not working!” Nielson yelled. “We have to get out of here!”
The Sergeant shook his head, “If we run, we are dead! At least we are holding it at bay.”
Glenn had pulled Jordan down the steps to the landing where Nelson was standing. Jordan was dead, without a doubt, but they wanted to retrieve the body if possible. The creature turned and ran to the far side of the floor, the walls had all been destroyed. The only obstacles to see were the fifteen support pillars.
On the far side of the floor there was a huge gaping hole. The creature looked out and roared. They fired their weapons again but the rounds seemed to do little more than irritate the creature. When they saw an electric-orange “bridge” extend from the next building over, they knew they had trouble.
“We need to get out and nuke this place!” Nielson said, knowing that the creature was about to be joined by others of its kind.
“We hold our ground, soldier!” The Sergeant ordered, “Load your grenade launchers!”
Normal grenade launchers blew up and sent shrapnel in every direction. These were different, the newest thing, they exploded into a round ball of plasma. Seeing as how the power of the rail guns had little effect, this was their step up.
Three more aliens joined the first, two of them were bi-pedal in that they walked on two legs instead of four. The alien foursome began rushing toward the humans, still crowding the stairwell.
“Fire!” The Sergeant yelled and four grenades were launched. One of them hit the ceiling too far away from the aliens to do much more than make a hole to the next floor up. One of them flew clear past the onrushing aliens without hitting anything. The last two struck aliens, causing them to swell up like balloons as the plasma expanded inside of them.
One of the aliens stopped and dropped to the floor. The other limped ahead, clearly injured but still alive.
“No way!” Nielson said, “How”
“Back down the stairs!” The Sergeant said, “Get on the boat and move!”
Glenn abandoned the body of Jordan as Nielson and Nelson ran by him. The Sergeant stayed behind as even more of the aliens crossed the bridge. Manhattan was infested by these monstrous creatures, he thought to himself, better to just nuke it. The politicians would disagree. They'd send more troops, they'd bomb, they try and make contact and get a lot more people killed before they came to their senses.
One Year Later
“Hello Ladies and Gentlemen. I am your host Rod Travers for this excellent episode of Hunting The Hunters. As you decided last week, the new hunter team will be led by Will Marshal, one of the top gamers of the World League. Today, he goes into combat for real.” The host announced to a worldwide audience. “The Manhattan Archipelago is the most interesting hunting grounds on Earth, with humans hunting the aliens that hunt them.”
Nobody knows why they came. Why they sank a major city into the ocean and moved in. Trying to talk to them has been useless. The navy and air forces contain the area, but the alien beasts have shown no desire to leave.
Now they have a worldwide reality show where contestants, chosen by viewers, are sent in to hunt the aliens. Diplomacy is useless, nuclear destruction unthinkable, so of course it because a ratings hit.
Kill and alien and survive, the prize is very big. Don't survive and the money goes to your next of kin or spouse. Most of the hunters had been killed, but the government allowed the hunting to continue because the networks paid a huge sum up front.
Will Marshal eschewed the armor and the high-tech systems. He simply wanted to carry his 50 caliber rifle and be dropped off by helicopter on one of the taller buildings where the aliens congregated. The program had assembled a team to go with him, including a small-town sheriff and a housewife from Ontario.
“They look like dinosaurs.” Gregory Hurst said, one of the producers, reviewing the footage from earlier trips. “They look different than they did when they first arrived.”
Lisa James, an associate producer, smiled. “That is good angle. The creatures might be evolving, changing. How does a hunter prepare for something they've never seen before?”
“It doesn't matter what they look like. I'll kill them.” Will Marshal told them, “So what if they're shape-changers?”
The government liaison had been asking for the show to find a real hero that can drive up ratings and Will Marshall might be the one. He was not just a stereotypical nerd living in their parents basement, he was a young, good-looking guy who had some experience with real weapons.
“This guy can become the face of Hunting The Hunters!” the saying went around. Sponsors had shown up, even more than when he had done some professional gaming. Will Marshall had a million dollars in contracts before he ever stepped foot into the Manhattan Archipelago.
“Hans has a flame thrower. Mikhail has his mines. Anders has his guided bullets. Tokyo has his drones. I have my electrical rounds. We can't lose.” He said defiantly for the cameras. The international team led by pretty boy Will Marshall were global media sensations. These heroes would step fourth to hunt down the alien invaders. They would do what the governments have declined to do.
“Time to go!”
To be continued